Kanye West attends the Versace fall 2019 fashion show on December 02 (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Kanye West Is Putting $10M Toward James Turrell’s ‘Roden Crater’

The music and fashion legend is setting his sights—and his fortune—on the art world.

by Emma Specter
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Jan 14 2019, 7:20pm

Kanye West attends the Versace fall 2019 fashion show on December 02 (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

Kanye West has just cemented his status as patron of the arts. Having conquered the worlds of music and fashion, the 41-year-old almost-billionaire is surrounding himself with artists like Takashi Murakami and showing off his own designs on Instagram; he’s previously praised artists from Matthew Barney to Kerry James Marshall (referring to the former as his “Jesus”), and commissioned 23-year-old London-based artist Shadi Al-Atallah for his last single cover.

Now, West is donating $10 million to the Turrell Art Foundation to help fund light and space artist James Turrell’s Roden Crater Project in northern Arizona, the Wall Street Journal reports. The decades-long project involves carving tunnelled rooms into an extinct volcano northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona, with the goal of turning the crater into a “creative campus” and open it to the public within five years. West visited the space with Turrell in December, taking to Twitter to pronounce the Roden Crater Project “life-changing.”

This announcement comes as no surprise, given that collaboration between West and Turrell, 75, has been building over the last month; the two toured on December 20, West tweeted a screenshot of himself on a call with Turrell and British architect Norman Foster.

West has funded political candidates and youth programs in the past, primarily those who share his Chicago roots, but his hefty donation to Turrell’s Roden Crater Project signifies a lasting and permanent commitment to the art world and ushering Turrell into the rarefied club of musicians’ status muses.

Drake is also reportedly a fan of Turrell, but fandom doesn’t pay the bills; he’ll have to pony up if he wants to usurp Kanye’s newfound role as Turrell’s de facto patron. Could West’s donation be, in some small part, a $10 million stunt on Drake?